Why is it that some people face life’s hardships with confidence and boldness, but others find themselves plagued with doubts and fear of failure? One reason is that too many people have a sorely inadequate view of who Jesus is. We may know Him as the Bread of Life and the Living Water, but how many of us know Him as our Great High Priest?
In the Jewish system, a priest mediated between the people and God. Jesus as High Priest mediates for us. His sacrifice is what provides cleansing for our sins. Rather than a yearly (or daily) atonement, Jesus’ sacrifice is once-for-all (Hebrews 10:1-18). Jesus, like the high priests of Old Testament times, stands in the gap between us (the people) and God. He made the necessary sacrifice for us (Jesus was without sin so did not need to offer a sacrifice for Himself as did the high priests of the Old Testament). We have been made righteous by Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) and are now able to enter into God’s presence. This mediation of Jesus is permanent and continual. Hebrews 7:23-25 says, “The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.” While Jesus’ sacrifice was once-for-all, His mediation for us continues. Jesus also communicates the will of God to us through His teachings and through the Holy Spirit (John 14:26).
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus had to be made like His brethren in all things. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18). Hebrews 4:15 adds, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” Jesus enters into our lives and experiences our pain, hurt, and guilt right along with us.
Have you ever been totally misunderstood when you did your best and gave your all? Consider this: Was anybody more misunderstood than Jesus? He was personally acquainted with that kind of pain. Has somebody you loved ever said no, shut the door, and walked away? You might wonder if Jesus ever felt such pain and rejection as this. Yes, He did. His own people scorned Him. Does Jesus, the sinless One, understand our feelings of guilt? The Bible says that the Father laid all the sins of the world on Him. Jesus Christ bore the guilt of all mankind.
Perhaps the most crucial thing for believers to understand today is that it is because Jesus is our High Priest that we can approach God with confidence. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16). We no longer need to go through earthly mediators. Jesus has broken the barrier, made the sacrifice, established a new covenant, and reinstituted our relationship with God. Because of our High Priest, we are free to come to God.
No matter what you are facing, realize that the Savior identifies with your circumstance, and He feels every single thing you’re experiencing.